Buying Diamonds: The Thrill of the Chase

The thought of buying diamonds is usually enough to send you floating away into a world of glamor and fantasy that brings with it all the excitement of owning your own piece of real diamond jewelry. For first-time buyers this feeling is heightened to a palpable point, and you may even be the victim of the "vapors". Even as a seasoned buyer, there's a sense of excitement that just can't be denied. Whatever your position, it's useful to have a fair to good idea of how to go about buying a really good piece of diamond jewelry.

The Rudiments of Diamond Hunting

Buying DiamondsThe study of diamonds and gems is an intense program involving several years of learning and practice but don't let that stop you from learning the core qualities that make a diamond what it is. A very basic knowledge of diamond terminology will quickly make you an engaging conversationalist on the subject of diamonds; at the very least, it will help you not to stare at the diamond salesman's face as he throws words at you that your brain has a hard time figuring out. It's not complicated, and a quick read through this piece will make you more aware. But there's one condition – whatever you learn you must teach. With that handshake over light years of cyberspace, let us begin.

The Core Values of a Diamond

You may have heard the term already, but probably the most important aspect of buying diamonds is an understanding of the famous "four Cs" – Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat weight. There's also a fifth C – certification – but that's not strictly part of the diamond's quality, just a validation of it. Obviously, you can add a couple more Cs like "Cost" and "Can I afford it", but that's for a later time.

Cut: This is probably the most important and complex of the Cs. The cut actually refers to the reflective qualities rather than the shape (round, oval, cushion and so on); this is not something that everybody understands, and even jewelers sometimes wrongly interchange the words. This aspect deals with the angles that the diamond is cut at, and is responsible for the brilliance and sparkle of the stone. Selecting a cut is a question of preference more than anything. Starting from the most brilliant "Ideal cut" down to the "Poor cut", these tags represent the amount of light that gets reflected by the diamond; the closer you get to an ideal cut, the more expensive the stone as well.

Clarity: Clarity refers to the presence (or rather absence) of two types of flaws – inclusions (inside the stone) and blemishes (on the surface). However, for grading, only the term inclusion is used, and the grading starts at F (flawless), IF (internally flawless), VVSI (very very slight inclusions), VSI, SI and I (included). The last two categories are not recommended unless it's going to be hidden among other stones in an elaborate setting – these flaws can often be seen by the unaided eye.

Color: Color refers to the presence of color in a white diamond, making it yellowish. The purity grading is D through X, with D being perfectly colorless. Still, there's no rule that only Ds should be used. Even though D through F are the most devoid of color (as well as the rarest and most expensive), if you use a gold setting rather than a white metal one, you can use G thorough I, or even J through M, which only have a faint yellow that will be masked by the color of the gold.

Carat weight: The carat is a unit of weight measurement equaling 200 mg, or 0.2 grams. The name comes from the ancient carob seeds that were so uniform in weight that they were used to measure out other items on a balance scale. The term carat is different from Karat, which is the term used to quantify the purity of gold in an object. The carat weight will naturally also indicate the size of the stone.

Buying diamonds: The final C

When buying diamonds, the cost is the all-important limiter; to splurge on a stone and then regret it every time your credit card bill comes round is not the best thing to do. Yes, a diamond can be an investment but that should be taken with a pinch of salt as well – a diamond owner knows how hard it is to part with a piece of beloved jewelry after wearing it even for a little while. The general rule of thumb used is the "two month salary" rule, which is the equivalent amount of money you should spend on a diamond at any given time. If you stick with that, you're pretty safe, but remember that you can't make your second diamond purchase before the first one is paid off in full. A prudent approach, especially with a luxury item such as this, will give you years of happiness and satisfaction without the tinge of regret that comes with overspending.

Where Can I Buy Diamonds Online?

Because the diamond business is so lucrative, numerous retailers have popped up online. While most are reputable, it is still wise to do a bit of research into who is running the store and from where. What type of certification do they offer? Are there any reviews of the store on online forums? By using a search engine to look specifically for negative reviews, you are more likely to find the truth. Positive reviews are sometimes paid for by companies, negative reviews are more likely to be from real customers.

eBay is a popular place for people to buy and sell diamond jewellery. The auction format means that if you're patient, you can get a really good deal on your purchase. If you're going to try eBay, make sure the seller has a certificate of authenticity from a jeweller. If they are not willing to provide one, it may be in your best interest to look elsewhere.